Family act - Page 3

Could Joe Alioto Jr. actually be worse than his sister, Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier?

but I support affordable housing for low-income folks, including rental units, and we need more middle-income housing for police officers, firefighters, nurses and teachers."

As for his endorsement by the rabidly anti-rent control SF Small Property Owners, Alioto said, "I think people are supporting me because I'd be fair and reasonable."

Alioto, who attended Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley and works as an antitrust lawyer at the Alioto Law Firm with brother-in-law Tom Pier, insists that he never claimed he'd been a deputy DA, "but I have a proven record of being interested in putting criminals behind bars."

Noting that he supports the property tax measures on the ballot, "notwithstanding the fact that some real estate interests supporting my campaign are opposed," Alioto further claimed that estimates that a third of his campaign money is from real estate interests are "severely overblown."

"I think they must have been including architects," he told us.

Asked about the Golden Gate Restaurant Association's lawsuit against the city's universal health care ordinance, Alioto said he supports Healthy San Francisco, "but I am concerned a little about putting the burden on small business."

Claiming that he supports the mayor's community justice center as well as "funding for whatever programs it diverts people to," Alioto talked about kick-starting the economy in blighted areas by creating jobs and incentives for small businesses in those districts. Alioto, who just saw the San Francisco Small Business Advocates kick down $9,500 in support of his campaign, also said he wants to increase the number of entertainment permits, add a movie theater, and decrease parking fees in Chinatown.

"And I support the [Chinatown] night markets," Alioto said, referring to a pet project of Pius Lee, whose Chinatown neighborhood association was found, during a 2006 audit instigated by Peskin, to have received excess city funds and allowed unlicensed merchants to participate in the markets.

But Lee is evidently now in good standing with Alioto and Mayor Gavin Newsom, since he accompanied both on a recent walkabout to boost Alioto's standing with Chinatown merchants. And Alioto's election is apparently very important to Newsom, given that the first public appearance the mayor made after returning from his African honeymoon was on behalf of Alioto's campaign.

All of which seems to confirm progressives' worst fears that Alioto, just like his sister before him, will become yet another Newsom call-up vote on the board. Three ethics complaints were filed against the Alioto campaign this week, and his detractors say he has a long history of questionable behavior, going back to 1996 when he had a severe ethical lapse while working on his sister's campaign for Congress.

According to a July 27, 1996 Chronicle article, Alioto, who was then his sister's campaign adviser, and their cousin, college student Steve Cannata, admitted they conspired to intercept the campaign material of Michela's congressional opponent, Frank Riggs.

"If Miss Alioto tolerates this sort of deceit in her campaign, it is frightening to imagine how she would behave if ever elected," Riggs wrote at the time. Alioto-Pier lost that race. But if her brother wins this November, can progressives help but be a little frightened to imagine just how the Alioto siblings might behave?

As one observer who preferred to remain anonymous told us, "Alioto may be all Joe Personality on the campaign trail, and have the same photogenic smile as his sister, but in reality, he is a fraud."